In this post-Easter week, we conclude our look at Paul’s discussion of the resurrection, in 1 Corinthians 15.
Fear and hope are two of the great motivators. Fear of what we have to lose, and hope of what we have to gain. We’re used to advertisers and politicians playing on these emotions, but it’s not a new thing. The great Greek and Roman orators (with whose work Paul would have been familiar) saw these as the two primary motivations in play when persuading an audience.
Early in 1 Corinthians 15, we’ve seen Paul build a rational case that if there is no resurrection of the dead, there is no hope. He carefully shows the Corinthians what they stand to lose if they abandon the Christian teaching about a bodily resurrection, and conform to Greek ideas about the soul and body. The first part of the chapter (esp. verses 12-19) was designed to make them (rightly) fear losing the very basis of their faith.